Monday, 23 September 2013

Last day

They make the most of their deco architecture in Spain, Even in a little town like Ferrol they send you on a guided walk with info boards along the way, giving the dates and the details of the architects etc. Here in Santander the bank and the post office all have good info about the buildings. It adds to the sense of community pride. We could do more of this in Faversham, I think.
Our lunch stop yesterday was at Luarca - a popular spot with tourists, pilgrims and locals alike, reminding me slightly of le Treport on the coast where Picardy becomes Normandy. There is a similar deep cleft in the high moorish rocks, only here it is like a canyon, leading down to a series of harbours offering protection against the ferocious storms and huge waves which bash into the Bay of Biscay from across the Atlantic.
We may have been the only English on the quays, looking for lunch, as we seemed to be surrounded by Spanish families - everyone from ancient grandpa to tiny baby - all cheerfully sharing the meal. We have seen very few obese people - a really noticeable difference from things back home, but the women are womanly in shape once they have had children, and the young girls are very slender. These are not a very tall people, either, and there are lots of people with various handicaps - bent legs, and tottering gaits. On the other hand, wheelchair life would be pretty well impossible due to all the steps and cobbles.   Some modernised buildings or hotels have ramps etc but it must be very daunting just to try to get along many of the streets.
This morning, our last in Spain on this trip, is wonderfully warm and sunny. We went out for breakfast - sat in a bar for coffee and fresh orange juice, had a slice of freshly made tortilla and a knobbly sandwich roll with oyster mushroom and finely sliced mountain ham, followed by two more tiny coffees. The bill was about £8.
We peeped into the cathdral crypt - it seems there are two full 13thc churches one above the other - we will go back to the main church in a moment - to see its three naves. Already, at 9.30, there were lots of people inside - praying, saying confession in an extremely well-lit confession-box, and taking part in enthusiastically-presented tours showing the Roman foundations under thick glass.
For some reason I have just remembered I wanted to record a marvellous word I saw on a viaduct in Galicia - they always tell you the length of these amazing structures, though it would be interesting to know the heights too. But in this case, the measurement was of the lonxitude.
We will go and find the ferry at 2.30 but for now, we'll head off out back into this nice city.... The middle of Spain is so vast and so empty, everyone crams into the towns, so even when there doesnt' seem to be much to do, they're all living here in massive apartment blocks. Life has a slowish pace. The corpuscles of society are the long-distance lorries which we see all over Europe. The pavements in the urban areas are lined with cafes, hairdressers, beauty parlours, shoe shops, childrens' clothes shops, and greengrocers. Here we also have the port, the gardens, the beach, the palace, etc etc.   Lots to see.

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